MARCH MAMA CRUSH: ANNE
March, 1 2018
All parents question their parenting methods at one point or another. There is no one size fits all parenting manual out there on how to raise smart, confident, compassionate, responsible humans...who sleep through the night on demand, eat their veggies and don’t pick their noses in public. If there is, please tell me right away!
Most parents, including yours truly, turn to family traditions, community support, and the wealth of parenting literature. In addition, there is also a perpetuation of parenting trends. Have the French perfected “the hands off parenting”, are the Chinese ahead in raising “the most successful children”, are the U.S. parents “most involved with their kids”, or does it really take a village to raise a child?
We were very curious to know how things are done in Australia. Anne Beaumont, originally from Dubbo in New South Wales, has been living in New York for the past 9 years with her husband and 3 kids - Olivia (5 years), William (3 years) and baby Hughie (4 months). She was kind to share her parenting wisdom and “the Aussie way”, as well as talk about keeping the cultural ties with her extended family and friends back in Australia despite the obvious distance.
Where are you from?
I grew up on a farm in rural Australia at a place called Dubbo in New South Wales, but spent most of my adult life in Sydney. My husband and I have been here in NYC for 9 years this March. We originally came for his work and I subsequently got my registration as a Registered Nurse in NYC and worked as an IVF Nurse in Manhattan for the most part of our time here.
How would you describe each of your kids in a few words?
Olivia is your typical first born daughter - sensible, studious, assertive, mostly well behaved and conscientious. Will is cheeky, rambunctious and always pushing the boundaries.
Hughie, the baby, has taken his position in life as a third child quite well - he seems quite relaxed so far.
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
My favorite thing would have to be seeing all my kiddies develop and grow into their own individual selves. Seeing them learn and grasp new concepts has been a major parenting highlight for me.
How has motherhood changed you?
I have definitely become more patient since having children. It has also given me a newfound appreciation for my own mother - you give up so much to raise children and I don’t think I realized this until I had children myself. It’s such a selfless act.
Oh, and I now feel I’m capable of doing anything whilst heavily sleep deprived.
How is the “Australian way of parenting” different from the American?
We are probably just way more relaxed when it comes to child rearing. And we don't take ourselves or any of it too seriously.
For example, if the house is a mess and there are a million things to do for the kids, I just realize that it will all get done in time and it doesn't really matter. That I just need to prioritize what is important and get that done and not fuss and stress about it - as that doesn't change or do anything to help the situation.
Or when your child gets into a bad habit like waking in night repeatedly or sick and it gets me down a bit- I always just remember that great saying "this too shall pass" and that always makes me remember that they are all stages and not to sweat the little stuff and just go with the flow and enjoy the chaos that a family of 5 brings
And the fact that we call diapers - nappies, the stroller - a pram, and the crib is called a cot.
What do you miss most about home?
Where do I start….. definitely our relaxed, laidback, humble and resourceful culture. Good coffee (although some good stuff is popping up these days), the amazing beaches and coastline, all of our family and friends, the long summers and the amazing fresh food. I am Australian to the core.
Are there any special home traditions that you follow with the kids?
Easter is a big holiday in Australia that you celebrate with family, so we always try to spend time with our other expat Aussie mates and their families during that time. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Australia, but we always do a big Aussie meal that day with Aussie friends and cook a Leg of Lamb.
What are your tips for traveling with 3 kids on transcontinental flights?
I, firstly, start with very very very low expectations, that way I’m always amazed at how well the trip actually went. I just try to be as organized as possible and have multiple changes of clothes, wipes and diapers on hand, and I portion everything out into Ziploc bags – they make it so easy to find things in bags. And a change of clothes for myself. Oh and, iPads - they are a God’s gift to mothers on a long haul flight.
Tell us a bit about your early breastfeeding journey?
Olivia was 4 weeks early and breast feeding was probably the only thing I had not thought about, I literally knew nothing about it. I thought it would be easy and come naturally, but I fast found it was so hard for me and sooooooo painful. Olivia’s latch was terrible and I had to wake her to feed every 2 hours and then pump afterwards. No one had told me just how really hard it was. The pain was excruciating, after about 1 to 2 months- I got the hang of it and never looked back. I breastfed Olivia for 9 months, when I went back to work my supply dropped dramatically whilst pumping at work and I switched to formula. William was easier and I fed him till he was 14 months, and now Hughie is doing well so far. Those first few weeks were so hard and I can understand how people give up - I definitely felt like I might at times but I hung in there and it became so easy.
What do you wish someone had told you about breastfeeding beforehand?
I wish someone had told me how painful it was going to be and that over time it would get easier.
What are some of your life-saver tips when it comes to breastfeeding?
I always pump once a day, that way I have a store of milk for me to go out and have time to myself and someone else can feed the baby. And I always make sure I give the baby a bottle once a day, so that it doesn’t reject the bottle and only want to breastfeed exclusively. I start this from about 4 weeks.
How important is fashion to you? How would you describe your style?
I love fashion and looking at what women are wearing, I love heading to Manhattan and noticing all the glamorous women in their beautiful outfits. Myself, I’m pretty relaxed and stick with a lot of J Crew styles. I feel it’s important, as a mum, to take care of yourself and have respect for yourself and care about how you look.
What is the secret for looking put together and stylish with 3 kids?
Ha- not sure I’m always put together, but I do like to look nice. I generally throw on what is comfortable, matches and suitable for breastfeeding and wrangling kiddies.
What are your must-have nursing wardrobe pieces?
My nursing bra is a must and then any loose top that can be lifted up for easy access to breastfeed. I love the white Esther top from Allette – it’s perfect in winter and super easy to feed in public with.
I’m feeling more relaxed already after talking with Anne. Thanks for the wisdom, mate!
p.s. We’re loving this pic of Anne in our Margot nursing dress when pregnant with baby Hughie last year.